‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

A court sentencing involving Kiera Bourque, charged with the manslaughter death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore, has been put over to next week.

Bourque was set to be sentenced on Friday (Sept. 18) in Penticton Supreme Court, but after hearing all submissions, Justice GP Weatherill chose to take time to consider all factors. A decision is expected on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 2 p.m.

In February 2020, Bourque pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her 17-year-old boyfriend, Devon Blackmore. The teen died on April 2, 2017, at a Penticton residence after he was administered morphine by Bourque.

READ MORE: Penticton woman pleads guilty to manslaughter of boyfriend

During Friday’s hearing, Crown Prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys proposed a sentence of three years, plus conditions. The maximum sentence for a manslaughter charge is life in prison, dependent on circumstances.

Blackmore’s cause of death was found to be a morphine overdose, with potentially fatal pneumonia as a contributing factor.

The Crown prosecutor said Bourque injected 17-year-old Blackmore, upon request, to help ease him of his discomfort and apparent pain he was experiencing due to pneumonia. Crown maintained he was not a consumer of hard drugs, was allergic to morphine, and had reacted poorly to it in the past. According to Bourque, he did not inform her of this.

Vandersluys described Blackmore as vulnerable, and that even if he had asked for morphine, “he was in no position to rationally consider and understand the potential consequences of taking a drug of this nature, in an uncontrolled and non-medically supervised manner.”

Bourque, 20 at the time, had no prior record. However, Crown said Bourque lacked insight the consequences of the decisions she made.

“Although she … admits to administering the morphine, she states: I don’t think Devon would want me to accept responsibility, it was his choice and had nothing to do with me,” Vandersluys read from the pre-sentencing report.

The autopsy of Blackmore’s body showed both his lungs were affected by severe pneumonia.

When Bourque was arrested for manslaughter in Feb. 2018, she admitted to injecting Blackmore with morphine, but stated she, “loved Devon and did not wish to harm him.”

Crown said Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless.”

Vandersluys maintained that Bourque suffers from a variety of disorders including depression and substance use. A study showed Bourque’s likelihood of recidivism is “at a low range.”

Bourque’s council explained that while with Blackmore, she was using morphine to manage her pain. In her view, Bourque had tried several times to encourage him to go to the hospital, which she said he refused to do, and as he was unable to inject the drug, he asked her to do it.

According to Bourque, Blackmore did not inform her of his previous history with the drug.

According to her lawyer, Bourque phoned 911 immediately, and, “at no point did she hide the drugs, the morphine … her intention was not to harm Mr. Blackmore.”

By pleading guilty, Bourque took responsibility for her actions, and spared the family from a lengthy trial. He later stated Bourque does not pose a danger to the community, and continues to live without drugs or alcohol.

Several letters of support for Bourque were read aloud in court. Friends and family noted how, since this tragic event, she has become more involved with volunteering in the community, and has become a more social person since ending her drug use.

A statement from Bourque’s father spoke about how she is a proud supporter of social matters, as well as the homeless and less fortunate in the community.

Twelve victim impact statements from family members and friends of Blackmore were submitted. Family spoke about about how Devon was well liked by many, and how he always took the time to help others.

Devon’s father, Jay Blackmore, said he would trade places with his son in an instant.

Lorrie Blackmore, Devon’s mother, read her victim impact statement aloud.

“His absence is felt in a room full of family and friends who’s one wish will never be granted; to have him here with us just one more time.

“I will never get to see Devon again … I will never be able to hug him and tell him how much I love him, ever again.”

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

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